Disrupting my relationship with alcohol and reclaiming my dream life
This is part of a story I’ve never told publicly and it’s one I’ve been wanting to share for a while. It’s the core of what really started my rewilding journey years ago, of unlearning and reclaiming my life. I know there’s so many other people in similar situations—feeling addicted or pulled away from everything but themselves.
So I invite you to stay until the end.
This is about the catalyst moment that started me on the journey of who I am today.
I was working in corporate wellness— teaching group exercise classes with a roster of private clients and tasked to develop new curriculum for my company. I was making good money, had a great partner, traveled and explored and took risks. My life felt like a checkbox list and I was ticking off everything that made me a “successful, productive and happy” adult.
People would always tell me” Cristina you are so happy and nice, you agree with everyone.”
“How do you stay in such great shape?”
“How were you so brave to go live in China?”
You’d think this life I’d created was dreamy, right?
If you could hear what was going on underneath the surface, you would hear the clinking and rattling of empty wine bottles. Too many empty wine bottles. In my pursuit of a perfect life, I had normalized a drinking behavior that I chose not to view as toxic.
But over the years I’d tell myself things like:
“I deserved that bottle of wine after a 10-hour work day,”
“Everyone in college was getting shit faced so I should, too.”
“Sunday funday? Yes, please!”
“Having a beer at the end of a hike? Is there any other way?”
I “deserved” those glasses of wine because I was working so hard and seemingly had my shit together.
But deep down persisted a silent anxiety and confusion quitely crushing my soul. I felt like I became deaf and was at a loss for how to even name how I felt. It was a dissociative feeling—that I couldn’t even listen to my thoughts or my body. Everything just became a reaction to a situation and not a well thought-out train of thinking.
One distinct memory will never leave me. I sat on the floor of my apartment one evening, drinking a bottle of wine alone, crying and praying. I ordered a whole domino’s pizza, ate it all by myself and then got sick. Then I drank some more. Even as I desperately asked the universe for help, I just couldn’t impede the wine flow.
But then a vision struck me and left me with an image that shook me to my core. I saw myself in ten years with young kids. They danced and played around me, begging me to join their idyllic fun. My eyes stayed glued to the clock, waiting for 5 p.m. to hit so I could justify opening that bottle of wine.
That day was the day that I finally began my Hero's Journey, the day I answered my call to adventure and was ripped from the ordinary world never to return again.
That vision was a future I didn’t want to chance. My life was worth more than waiting for that daily dose of “calm” in a glass.
That moment on the floor of my apartment, my life flashing before my eyes, I made a decision to reclaim who I was. Admittedly, it was a slow process. But I had a dream of a life sans alcohol, with nature’s teachings at its center.
I dreamt of the childhood I had—rich in nature and close to my community in the outdoors. This was the life I so badly wanted again because I knew these things were tangible and true. I envisioned those times I was camping, fishing and trekking through the mountains with my family and friends. I thought about the little girl playing so freely along those river streams. The girl that felt free and wild in nature.
And slowly, I rooted my life in what was real—nature, community, meditation, sunshine and stillness, dance and play. I put my desire for a miracle out into the arms of all the energetic forces. I completely surrendered my life to be taken into the hands of something greater than me.
Eventually, things started to shift.
I played in the water as much as possible
I swam naked and dug my feet into the earth
I camped on the beaches of Alaska and near Tennessee waterfalls
I started talking to the plants and universe around me
I gathered with groups in the outdoors
This was real life. This beautiful, natural world that we are a part of is what makes sense.
And the version of the life I thought I was supposed to lead started to slip away from me. Who I thought I should be didn’t matter anymore. I was now unfolding into the person I was meant to be simply by flowing through the heart of nature.
I started to actually “see and hear” life. I started to ask big questions about myself and who I was. I journaled fervently and thought critically about the life I actually wanted. I sat in stillness for long periods and just listened to the world around me. I picked up on Mother Nature’s messages of knowing and those answers I’d been looking for a long time suddenly came clearly.
With this grounding chord of connection to Mother Nature’s spirit, I begun to trust my life. I trusted who I could become. I trusted my ability to face adversity without numbing out on alcohol. All along my sensitivity, love for humanity and sense of adventure were my greatest soul-calling aspects of life—I just had to put myself in environments that allowed my spirit to shine through.
As time went on, this energetic dance happened in my life. The more I trusted in my vision, showed up unapologetically, and connected to nature, did the work that felt right to me, things shifted in the right direction. Whether it was my daily habits, my business, my friendships or my work, things started to make sense, the path became ever more clear to me and I haven’t looked back since. My life right now is so rich and full of meaning, clarity and trust. It is unfolding in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago.
For far too long I told myself I was “bad, wrong, not enough, not worthy” when really I just didn’t have the tools to move through the world as a deeply empathic and sensitive being.
Guess what I learned along my journey—WE ARE ALL FREAKING SENSITIVE BEINGS!!! And that’s okay! It’s 100%, without-question normal!
My relationship to alcohol may feel really similar to yours—or maybe it’s food, sex or technology you are trying to set boundries with. Whatever it may be, keep showing up to the spaces, the people and the programs that allow you to reclaim who you are.
Remember: You deserve a life that is rich in connection, clarity and power. Everyone does.
Love you all,